We’re going to take a look at each NHL team, breaking down every new addition and subtraction, as well as promising prospects leading up to the start of the 2014-15 season.
Today, we take a look at the Calgary Flames.
By: Andy Hughes
2013-14 Season: 35-40-7, 77 points (6th Pacific Division, 13th Western Conference)
Free Agents Signed:
RW Devin Setoguchi (Winnipeg)
G Brad Thiessen
D Sena Acolatse (San Jose)
G Jonas Hiller (Anaheim)
LW/RW Mason Raymond (Toronto)
D/RW Deryk Engelland (Pittsburgh)
LW/C David Wolf (Europe)
Free Agents Lost:
RW T.J. Galiardi (Winnipeg)
D Chris Butler (St. Louis)
G Joey MacDonald (Montreal)
D Christopher Breen (Boston)
C/W Blair Jones (Philadelphia)
C Ben Street (Colorado)
LW/C Mike Cammalleri (New Jersey)
83rd overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft to Chicago for LW Brandon Bollig
C Sam Bennett
LW John Gaudreau
C/LW Markus Granlund
C/LW Mark Jankowski
RW Emile Poirier
The Calgary Flames knew the 2013-14 season was going to be tough and it certainly was. The team traded its hero Jarome Iginla the year before and longtime goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff decided to retire. Although the Flames had some nice young players in the new-look lineup last season, it was not even close to enough to qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs. They finished with a 35-40-7 record, which was the fourth-worst record in the league. It was the fifth straight season Calgary missed the playoffs. Will the playoff drought extend to six?
Brian Burke, head coach Bob Hartley and GM Brad Treliving will do their best to end the drought, but even they know this is probably another year of rebuilding. Treliving was unable to keep forward Mike Cammalleri, who left via free agency for the New Jersey Devils. Cammalerri led the team in goals last season with 26. The Flames will try to replace that production with newcomers Mason Raymond and Devin Setoguchi. Raymond signed a three-year deal with the Flames worth $9.5 million after scoring 19 goals last year with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Although that signing costed them some money, the Setoguchi contract looks like a bargain. Calgary inked him to a one-year deal at a $750,000 cap hit. Not bad for a former 30-goal scorer. Setoguchi hasn’t been the same since his breakout season in 2008-09, but he has managed to score at least 10 goals in all 7 seasons of his NHL career. He will most likely start the year on the second line with center Sean Monahan. The 6th overall pick in last year’s draft scored 22 goals in his rookie year. The Flames hope to see him build off that this year. Calgary seems set at center with Monahan, Mikael Backlund, Matt Stajan and Joe Colbourne, which is important for a rebuilding team. There has also been a lot of hype surrounding forward John Gaudreau, who will most likely play wing on the one of the top three lines. Backlund, Gaudreau and Monahan are still relatively young so the team may not see the real rewards for a few years. The Flames also drafted forward Sam Bennett with the 4th overall pick in this year’s draft, which should really help them in the future. Bennett is a great player and should be a great fit in Calgary when he comes up to the NHL.
Overall, Calgary’s defense and goaltending are two big question marks. Captain Mark Giordano had a great season last year, but he can’t do it all himself. The Flames made one of the worst signings of the offseason by signing defenseman Deryk Engelland to a three-year contract worth $8.7 million. Yes, that means he will have a cap hit of $2.9 million per season. Engelland, who struggled to stay in the lineup consistently as defenseman with the Pittsburgh Penguins, will most likely be on the Flames third pairing. Calgary will not have much room for young defensemen to come up unless there are injuries because they now have 6 defensemen signed to one-way deals. To get some more competition in goal, the team signed former Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller to a two-year contract worth $9 million. Calgay has said Hiller will compete with Karri Ramo to be the starter, but I don’t think they spent that much money for Hiller to sit on the bench. Hiller has experience, but had a down year last year with Anaheim. It will be interesting to see how he responds in Calgary.
The Calgary Flames are most likely going to struggle again this season. They have a nice mix of young players and experienced veterans, but I still do not think it will be enough for them to make the postseason. Monahan is on the right track and will take another step forward this season, but they still do not have enough depth. In fact, the Flames have the lowest payroll in the NHL at the moment. With so many questions regarding their defense/goaltending in addition to their inexperienced roster, expect the Flames to be near the basement of the Western Conference again this year. Although that’s tough to hear now, this team should be good in a year or two with so many good young players coming up.
Curtis Glencross-Mikael Backlund-Jiri Hudler
John Gaudreau-Sean Monahan-Devin Setoguchi
Mason Raymond-Matt Stajan-David Jones
Brandon Bollig-Joe Colborne-Lance Bouma
T.J. Brodie-Mark Giordano
Ladislav Smid-Dennis Wideman
Kris Russell-Deryk Engelland